Rentals in San Francisco>Question Details

yochan, Renter in Seattle, WA

I am moving to the bay area with plans to rent, which neighborhoods/cities should I consider?

Asked by yochan, Seattle, WA Tue Jan 21, 2014

I am moving with my family (my wife and four children) to Bay Area to take a job in Millbrae. We plan on renting a home with a budget of $5500/month or less. Our minimum requirement is that it must have at least 3 bedrooms, be in a safe neighborhood, and we really don't want to live in consistently foggy weather. My wife and I discussed how we would prioritize various aspects of the house and we came up with the list below (in priority order).

1. School quality (we have children ages 1 - 11)
2. Commute time
3. Number of families in the area with similarly aged children
4. Home quality
5. Price
6. Home size
7. Parks
8. Walkability
9. Yard size
10. Things to do

Which neighborhoods and cities should we consider?

Help the community by answering this question:


I have a 3 bedroom property located in a safe neighborhood! its located in the seacliff district and there are plenty of schools available (walkable distance from the house-- 10 min). There are about 4 schools located within walking distance, so the area is filled with families--including my own. Contact me at (415) 990-4964 for more information
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 2, 2014
Your best option is to contact local property management companies to see what rentals they have available. Realtors are barred from recommending specific neighborhoods to the public because that could be viewed as steering or being discriminatory.

For crime, check out this website:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 22, 2014
Real estate agents are barred from "steering" based on race or other protected classifications. I think it's overly broad to say that agents cannot recommend neighborhoods, especially in these circumstances where we know almost nothing about you and your family except for familial status. As part of our Code of Ethics, the National Association of Realtors provides the following as a standard of practice: "When not involved in the sale or lease of a residence, REALTORS® may provide demographic information related to a property,transaction or professional assignment to a party if such demographic information is (a) deemed by the REALTOR® to be needed to assist with or complete, in a manner consistent with Article 10, a real estate transaction or professional assignment and (b) is obtained or derived from a recognized, reliable, independent, and impartial source."
Answering specific, objective questions is certainly OK. Volunteering information without behing asked is something else.
Flag Thu Jan 23, 2014
Good to know. I assume that it is still safe to ask objective questions pertaining to specific neighborhoods in a public forum. Is that correct?
Flag Thu Jan 23, 2014
Since schools are your number one priority, in addition to looking at the usual school rankings for performance (and San Francisco has its share of high ranking schools), I suggest you look closely at the way children are assigned to a school. Particularly in San Francisco, unlike many school districts, school assignments are not automatically to the nearest school.…

A map of the best performing schools in San Francisco shows most of them to be in the western part of the city where you're more likely to encounter fog. You may have to do a balancing act between weather and school quality. Central neighborhoods such as Noe, Bernal Heights, Glen Park would be good starting points.

You might also want to consider Marin County -- in particular the communities immediately north of the Golden Gate Bridge such as Sausalito, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Tiburon, Larkspur, Kentfield, Greenbrae.. Although this will obviously increase your commute time to Millbrae (and as a practical matter it will have to be by car), Marin has consistently very high performing schools.

John Oldfield
BRE# 01292184
Prudential California Realty
1715 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109
415-762-9608 office/voicemail/fax
415-816-4742 Mobile
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 22, 2014
Bernal Heights, Noe Valley, Glen Park
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 21, 2014
You dont want to commute from the north bay!
Flag Wed Jan 22, 2014
With your list in priority order. Millbrae itself will be a desired place for you.
Millbrae is know for its good school district, will be very close to your work! Home quality is great. Sunny all the time. Bart and train will take you to the whole bay area. Twenty minutes to the city of San Francisco. Half hour to Standford university, 40 minutes to Silicon Valley
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 21, 2014
Bay area is a big place, and depending on what you're ultimately looking to get out of your next home you'll have plenty of options, and neighborhood to consider. If you've been to San Francisco before, you know what I'm talking about. However, keep in mind that the further away you get from the City, if this is something worthwhile considering, i.e., the commute, you'll find a much more generous take on your investment dollar. Keep in mind that the rental market has gotten a bit tight as a result of the numerous homeowners who lost their properties not long ago, and, due to the strong demand for rentals. In other words, be prepared to pay much more than you first calculated. Keeping it real, as they say, if you're asking this broad question here on this forum, you'll probably get such a variety of responses, all of which could sound "just right," but you'll ultimately be the judge of what works for you -- economically as well as to suit your lifestyle. Check out the link below for a glimpse of S.F.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 21, 2014
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